Archive for the 'Point-to-point' Category

Prototypically correct layouts - no going round in circles here!

"Dolly Varden Mining Co" by Lennart Elg

Posted on September 28th, 2002
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© Lennart Elg

Lennart wrote:

“This is a small spare-bedroom sized layout inspired by the Dolly Varden Mines railroad (see Darryl Muralt´s 1985 book “Steel Rails and Silver Dreams” for more info on the prototype - if you are lucky enough to have it, Caboose Hobbies sell used copies at 190 dollars). The room size is 7ft 4 inch x 11ft 8 inch.

“Given the prototype´s location on Observatory Inlet, British Columbia (not far from the Alaska border), it should make an ideal home for Boulder Valley Models enclosed cab version of the Dunkirk, or 0-4-2 Bachmann Porters dressed up in Bill Banta´s “All weather cab”. If you do not want to wait for the promised dump cars from Bachmann, Grandt Line has several suitable models, with a supporting cast of 16-20 ft flat and box cars from Chivers, Foothill Model Works, Design-Tech etc. (You can also use a broken Bachmann Mogul rusting on a siding. The company bought a Mogul which was too heavy and rigid to handle the grades and trackwork..).

“Minimum radius is 22″, I needed the spiral to gain enough elevation for the dump track leading to the ore bunker. The small sawmill making props for the mine is not prototypical, but was added to give more operation opportunities.

“Also, note that after unloading ore trains must proceed down to the yard before the locomotive can run around its train - backing the train up the hill would be cheating.”

Lennart Elg

Although this plan was designed for On30, it would also be ideal for an HO scale standard gauge line.

"Big Foot Lumber" by Stuart Edmundson

Posted on April 17th, 2002

Stuart Edmundson first posted this plan to the On30 Conspiracy group at Yahoo!, but has kindly agreed to its publication at as well. “On30″ models are O scale models running on HO gauge track, representing 30″ gauge prototypes. The beauty of plans in this scale, however, are that they can usually be used for standard gauge HO layouts (albeit with smaller scenery).

Big Foot Lumber started life as a shelf layout - shown at the bottom of the plan as ‘Existing Module’ - and this portion is an interesting switching layout for either a narrow gauge or small standard gauge operation.

The key to building this layout is to ensure that you can access the hidden sidings at the top left of the plan, just in case of a problem arising. One option would be for a single track to descend after entering the tunnel and swing around to a fiddle yard area under the sawmill, but this would be dependent on space and the maximum gradients your trains can comfortably handle.

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© Stuart Edmundson

"Gato Prêto, Brazil - 1965" by Carl Arendt

Posted on April 17th, 2002

A layout based on a delightful South American prototype

Gato Prêto, in rural southern Brazil less than 100 km from Sao Paulo, was the hub of a busy two-foot gauge railway line hauling lime to the cement plants in Perús. The road was built in 1910 and lasted until 1983. Worked by steam power throughout its lifetime, the little line seems to have been designed expressly for model railroaders!

To start with, the “main line” rounded a large hill, making a 150-degree curve to enter the station–as if it had been planned to occupy one end of a layout table! Just before curving the line split into two parts. One went uphill, to become the highest of three levels serving the lime kilns of Gato Prêto; the other continued on to the yards and engine house/repair facilities at the lowest level. An intermediate level track split from the lower main near the end of the curve.

The top level at the kilns was the place where limestone was charged into the kiln from small four-wheeled wagons that were hauled in from the quarries. The next level down was the firewood level, with wood brought to the kilns on standard, eight-wheeled flat cars (you can see one in the picture of the surviving kiln that accompanies the track plan). Finished lime was loaded at ground level, to be hauled away to the cement plants on down the line.

The Perús and Pirpora Railroad was worked by steam locomotives throughout its life–beginning with two Baldwin 2-4-0s in 1910, and adding four Alco-Cooke 2-4-2 saddle tanks in 1921. The engine house and repair shop at Gato Prêto was home base for all the lokeys.

The layout presented here models the station in 1965, when it was reduced to a single lime kiln. Operations included one lime train departing each day, plus continual deliveries of limestone at the upper level and firewood at the intermediate one. In order to fit the confines of a small layout, the yard trackage has been abbreviated to a single track, and the engine house reduced from four roads to two. With more space available, the whole installation could easily be modelled.

All trains originate in the hidden fiddle yard at the rear, which represents the rest of the line. The general track arrangement at Gato Prêto is an excellent real-life example of the layout concept I call The Fork…where trains can serve two termini without requiring a passing siding or turntable at either one.

Because the layout curves are a generous 12 inches, this layout can be built as an HO/OO standard gauge line, or as an O scale narrow-gauge railway–either true two-foot gauge or 30″ gauge using standard 16.5 mm trackage. All in all, Gato Prêto is a wonderful prototype that offers lots of operation in a relatively small space!

You can read all about the P&P line and see lots of photos of Gato Prêto in Charles Small’s wonderful book, “Plus or Minus Two Footers — Brazilian Steam Album Volume I” published in 1984 by Railhead Publications, Canton, Ohio. It’s out of print but readily available on the used book market…its ISBN number is 0-912113-14-6.

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Gato Prêto, Brazil - 1965 © Carl Arendt

"Norfolk & Adair"

Posted on March 10th, 2002
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Norfolk & Adair © Emrys Hopkins

Two layouts in one here - on one side of the central viewblock is the town of Norfolk with a few small industries, minimal engine servicing area and a passenger depot. On the other side is Adair Junction, where a logging line joins the branch line. Adair Junction is heavily influenced by the famous Gumstump and Snowshoe layout, but I’m not aware of any particular influence over Norfolk.

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Norfolk station

The unusual aspect of this plan is that it’s designed to stick out from the corner of a room. The two staging areas go against the walls and - thanks to the double slip - trains can be brought out of one “yard”, run around the layout as many times as you like and then sent away to the other staging area.

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Adair Junction

"Caledonia Junction"

Posted on March 10th, 2002

Apologies for the poor quality of the plan - I’ll re-post it when I get around to drawing up a better version.

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Caledonia Junction © Emrys Hopkins

This plan was been inspired by the gift of a ‘00′ gauge train set to go with my 009 rolling stock. I felt that I would be struggling to build a station at which the Caledonian would have stopped, but I could put together a fictitious station through which the train may have been diverted due to engineering works …. I know it’s a bit thin - can you think of a better justification?

Anyway, the layout is simple an oval with hidden storage tracks, a looped though station with a couple of goods sidings and headshunts and a narrow gauge feeder line bringing down passengers and goods to the standard gauge. Minimum radii are 18″ on the standard gauge and 11″ for the narrow gauge line (surprisingly generous for me!).

Possible improvements: The next version of the plan will have a straighter standard gauge station. I’ll probably drop the narrow gauge line nearest the standard gauge station so that the NG station faces “north” rather than facing the standard gauge station building. Overall, though, I’m fairly happy with the plan.